Wednesday, 29 January 2014


This is a petition to save Bantock House from closing. It's a wonderful place and inspiring for artists and writers. I visit it weekly, and also had some of my wedding photos taken there, so it's a place I hold dear to my heart. Please help save it by signing this petition :)


Sunday, 26 January 2014

A Writer's Journey: Revising Your First Draft: The First Read-Through

Really great article on a first draft of a novel and then the steps after that by Nat Russo. Some really good advice...

A Writer's Journey: Revising Your First Draft: The First Read-Through: What have I gotten myself into? If you're in the middle of your first draft, you've probably asked yourself that question several ti...

Sunday, 19 January 2014

No Right Way to Write by Cindy Dees

Some inspiring words from author Cindy Dees who has given me permission to share her post.

You can find her work on Facebook: 
Twitter: @CindyDees and on her website:


I was chatting with a friend who's ADD (for real, not a bad diagnosis to keep little boys sitting still in school…but that's a rant for another day). This friend is highly articulate and creative and is thinking about trying some writing.

And, like many authors who were too well trained by their high school English teachers, he had the notion that there's a "right" way to write a book. Furthermore, trying to do it right was destroying his writing mojo.

This is, of course, crap.

You can write from the last page forward to the first page. You can write individual scenes in random order and cobble them together later. You can write the odd numbered pages, then go back and write the even ones. You can write standing on your head in a trash can for all I care!

What I'm trying to say here is that there is NO right or wrong way to write. At the end of the day, if a book emerges from your process, no matter how strange or chaotic that process might be, then YOUR PROCESS WORKS.

Yes, it can be helpful to outline your plot. Some people choose to do that before they write a book, others wait until they've written in the storm and produced a draft. Then, they tear apart their plot as it stands to find the holes.

Yes, some people plan carefully and are most comfortable writing page one, then page two, then page three, and so on. That's fine.

Some people prefer to write the scene they're most excited about that day when they sit down to write. They drop the scenes into the overall draft manuscript later. That's awesome. (This is a particular fave of mine, because my writing is always at it's best when I'm excited by a scene. I try to capture that thrill when it's fresh and rich in my mind.)

If you can work on four books at the same time and write each of them out of order, and in a year emerge with four terrific stories, then go for it.

Just remember, this is not high school English, where you're stating a thesis, making three supporting arguments, citing sources and criticisms, then summarizing the whole mess. You're telling stories. Your only mission is to capture your own creative process. I hereby give you permission to do whatever works for you.


I finished the first draft of my book Petronella Beetletwitch just after Christmas. After leaving it alone for two weeks I was keen to get back to it and start the editing process. I've spent the past week scribbling all over my manuscript as I read through from start to finish, picking up on words I use far too often, and ironing out bumps and filling in plot holes.

Today I've started on the second round of editing, already whole chunks have been chopped, and chapters have been altered. So far it's been a massive learning curve as until now I've focused my efforts on short stories, flash fiction and poetry. So to have a whole manuscript there before me to tamper with have been a daunting but exciting prospect.

So far so good, loving the process, let's see where it takes me...

I've had some fantastic advice to keep me on track from author Nell Dixon, whose website offers some great writing tips that are well worth a look:

Nell Dixon - Romance writer: Off to a cracking start!

Nell Dixon - Romance writer: Off to a cracking start!: 2014 is promising to be a much better year in all ways than last year! Right now my lovely publishers, Astraea Press have a brilliant offer ...

Wombourne Writers: January Homework!

Wombourne Writers: January Homework!: For the February meeting write a short story for young adults up to 1500 words. This can be entered in the NAWG competition

Thursday, 9 January 2014

5 Minute Writing Exercise

The product of a 5 minute exercise using the word ‘Capacity’…

The idea is to just use a randomly selected word from the dictionary and see where it takes you, don’t stop to think about what you have written or edit it, just keep moving forward.

The lift was full to maximum capacity, absolutely rammed, as my Mother would say. For someone who had issues with personal space, this was hell. But little did I know far worse was to come. The lift came to a juddering halt, but not at its designated point.  No, this damn thing had chosen this precise moment to break down, right between floors 21 and 22. If it were to suddenly drop now we’d be like a can of stew, all lumpy bits and pieces in varying states of liquidisation. That might just get me out of what I had been about to face, but I think I’d rather live to see another day. Unlike the woman just in front of me, whose scent I had inhaled so many times before in such close proximity during my silent vigils as I’d stalked her over the past month.